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How To Apply

Are YOU ready to apply for preschool?

Enrolling your 3- or 4-year-old in a Chicago Early Learning preschool program is easy and open year-round. Follow these easy steps to get your child enrolled in preschool.

If you have any questions, please reference our FAQ page for more details.

Enrollment Process

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Search Locations

Find and compare Chicago Early Learning programs to find the right one for your child. Get Started!

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Apply to Program

Narrow it down to your top two picks. Create an online account, fill out family information, and a child application to preschool sites. If your child qualifies for an offer, you will follow next steps verify their placement. If your child remains on a waitlist, stay tuned for more information from the Chicago Early Learning team.

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For CPS Site Offers: Verify placement through a Family Resource Center

Within two weeks of receiving your offer, bring proof of your family’s income, address, and your child’s birth to one of 12 Family Resource Center sites across the city. Click here for more information about Family Resource Centers. See below for more details about what documents you will provide.

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For Community-Based Site Offers: Verify placement through your community-program location

Within two weeks of receiving your offer, bring proof of your family’s income, address, and your child’s birth to your assigned community-based program location. See below for more details about what documents you will provide.

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Enrollment at CPS-Program Location

Visit your child’s preschool over the summer or as soon as school starts to complete the enrollment process. The school may have more specific enrollment directions that they will communicate.

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Enrollment at Community-Program Location

When you visit your child’s community-based site to verify your child’s offer, your site will communicate any additional expectations they have to complete the enrollment process.

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Go to School!

If you have questions, please call our Chicago Early Learning Hotline: (312) 229-1690 or visit a Family Resource Center near you.

How will you verify your child's placement?

If your child is offered a preliminary preschool placement, you will receive an email with verification instructions.

Follow these three steps to verify your child's placement:

Step 1: Gather Documents

Proof of child's age

  • Original birth certificate
  • Passport

Proof of Address

  • Driver's License/ID card
  • Utility bill
  • Lease agreement/mortgage statement
  • Current voter registration card

Proof of Income

  • Current paystub
  • 1040/W-2
  • SSI Letter
  • Unemployment Letter/Stub
  • Workers' compensation letter/stub
  • Retirement or pension stub/letter
  • Alimony
  • Official child support letter
  • TANF
  • Income verification form

Step 2: Bring and Verify Documents

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If your child has a seat in a Community-based program, bring your documents directly to the site which your child was assigned.

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If your child has a seat in a CPS-based program, bring your documents to a Family Resource Center.

Step 3: Bring your child on the first day of school in September.

Let the learning begin!

Note: If your family is in a temporary living situation, you are not required to present the documents listed above for verification. All schools must immediately enroll students in temporary living situations even if the student lacks health, immunization or school records, proof of guardianship, proof of residency, or any other documentation normally required for school enrollment.